Posted at Sep 2, 2021 8:30:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share
Out of the billions of searches conducted each day, 46% have “local intent.” This means that hungry folks are looking for great food near them. Stranded people are looking for vehicles or rides immediately. Active athletes are looking for shoes and gear so they can hit the trails, fields, or courts now.
Confused individuals are searching for advocates as they navigate the legal system on a timeline. Whatever the need, search engine queries are most often the first step in meeting them. This simple figure - 46% - also represents a significant opportunity for your business. Optimizing for local search is a must.
What is local SEO - and how can you get on top of your game?
Local SEO Basics
First things first: let’s define local SEO. It is the practice of optimizing your online presence to boost your visibility in local organic search engine results. Local SEO is particularly important for brick-and-mortar companies. And here’s the good news, over three-quarters of those who find a business via local search queries end up visiting that establishment the very same day.
Now, when search engines deliver results for local searches, they are looking for:
Proximity (i.e., how close is your business to the individual who is searching?)
Prominence (i.e., how authoritative is your online presence? In what ways do you stand out - and above - from the competition?)
Relevance (i.e., how closely does your online presence align with the searcher’s needs?)
Boiled down: the goal of local SEO is to show Google and other search engines that you should be prominent in the results pages because you are the most relevant answer to queries close to you.
It is mission critical that searchers are able to find you online. Implementing local SEO strategies can help your business rank higher and gain visibility in search engine results pages. As we all know, the higher the ranking, the more traffic. And the more traffic, the more chances to convert searchers into satisfied customers.
The Local Pack
When you do a Google search for a business (or for a product or service) near you, you’ll see a listing of the top results. The “local pack” features the business’s name, star review, keyword phrase (e.g., personal injury lawyer), address, phone number, and, in some cases, a review snippet. They also appear on a clickable map. You know that the top three results get the bulk of the traffic for a given search. The same is true for the businesses listed in the local pack, which garner about 93% of the traffic for those particular searches.
A primary goal, then, is to get into that pack! How? Some actionable local SEO steps you can take include:
Optimizing for Google My Business. Google wants to deliver the most relevant results to searchers. Their Google My Business platform requires you to create and verify your GMB page, which helps establish your credibility. (Credibility = better search performance)
Encourage customers to leave reviews online. Many won’t unless they’re (gently) reminded that this is important to you - and to them! Consumers rely on the advice and guidance of their peers, so reviews are an invaluable resource.
Respond to reviews timely, whether positive or negative. Always maintain your professionalism, and if a situation threatens to go off the rails, take the conversation to a phone call or direct message with the individual.
Accurate NAP. Make sure your business name, address, and phone number are always up to date and that you are easy to find. List your business hours, as well.
As important as these steps are in terms of your online profile, a big part of local SEO basics is what you do offline. How you treat your customers - the experience that you deliver - is arguably even more essential.
When people interact with you online, and then in person, the experience must be consistent and positive. This, in turn, can lead to more positive reviews, which can lead to more local search traffic… which can lead to more good old foot traffic.
These local SEO basics will get you started. To take your strategy and implementation to the next level, contact THAT Agency. Your team is waiting to help you enhance your online presence and grow your brick-and-mortar business.